In just his second year in the NFL, Burrow led the Cincinnati Bengals to a 27-24 win on Sunday to clinch the AFC title over the Kansas City Chiefs and send them to the big game. In a couple of weeks, they'll be seeking their first title in franchise history.
Burrow's rise to the top of the sport has some similarities to the start of Tim Duncan's career, as it only took Duncan two seasons to already find himself in the NBA Finals. As many Spurs fans discovered shortly after he secured his spot in the Super Bowl, that's not the only tie he has to the Silver and Black.
It turns out, the Spurs had an admirer in a 16-year-old Burrow long before he was making a name for himself playing football.
Joe Burrow Compliments the San Antonio Spurs' International Flavor
"The Spurs: the best ensemble of foreign players of all time," read the tweet from June 2013.
At the time of the tweet, San Antonio was locked in a series with the Miami Heat that turned out to be one of the greatest NBA Finals series ever. Burrow's declaration came on the eve of a Spurs' Game 5 victory before the infamous Game 6 broke fans' hearts everywhere a few days later.
The Spurs teams that made the NBA Finals in back-to-back seasons had multiple international players playing huge roles. In particular, the 2013 playoff squad had the following players born outside of the United States.
- Tony Parker, Belgium
- Manu Ginobili, Argentina
- Tiago Splitter, Brazil
- Boris Diaw, France
- Cory Joseph, Canada
- Patty Mills, Australia
Of these players, Parker and Ginobili will probably end up being in the Basketball Hall of Fame, with Manu's induction likely coming this September. Beyond them, the rest of the international cast played huge roles in the 2014 redeem team that annihilated Miami in dramatic fashion to capture the Spurs' fifth and most recent NBA title.
We'll know soon if Burrow can pull a Tim Duncan and win a championship in just his second season, as the Super Bowl will take place on Sunday, February 13 at 6:30 pm ET.